It’s well known that weddings are generally pretty fun but you really can see the joy and laughter written all over Pat and Rachel on their day. Aiming for a relaxed and friendly festival feel, our couple tied the knot on the 1st July 2017. Following a church ceremony, their reception took place on land which also comes complete with a cottage and glamping so that they could really make a weekend of it and make the most of spending time with all their guests.
This full of fun pair needed a photographer that wouldn’t try to make them be too serious, and I think you’ll agree that Joab Smith Photography has done a fab job of capturing the love and larks. Thank you for sharing these brilliant images with us Joab.
The only part of the planning that stressed Rachel out was finding bridesmaid dresses, that is until she found WWW faves and Supplier Love members, Rewritten of course. The bridesmaids look fantastic and prove that oxblood is not just an autumn colour!
Enjoy this relaxed yet vibrant celebration WWWers!
I’m afraid its’s a little bit of a long story and does require some background to understand the entertainment! Pat has two brothers and I have one sister. Five years into our relationship Pat decided to do some matchmaking of his own and asked my older sister to make friends with his oldest brother because he was new to the area, a few months later they decided that Pat was actually cupid and became a couple. A few years into their relationship they got engaged and planned to be married in Puglia in Italy (also a wonderful wedding!), it was a small affair with just the two families involved, our parents and siblings which included Pat’s other brother Callum who lives in Australia with his girlfriend Laura.
The first week in Italy was all about the wedding and then we all separated and went to different areas in Italy to spend our second week on holiday. As we don’t see Callum and Laura very often we decided to spend our week together on the Amalfi Coast, one of our trips involving a three night stay on a boat that took us from Naples down the coast to Amalfi stopping off at various points along the way. On the second night we reached Amalfi and were left by our captain to wander around the town and Callum had decided to take us on a little hike up to a view point looking over Amalfi before we went for dinner.
So we all followed slightly begrudgingly after the 200th step and when we got to the top Callum asked Pat if he would take a photo of him and Laura with the view, whilst I moaned about how unattractive the photo of me was that we had just taken. Suddenly Callum got down on one knee and asked Laura to marry him, having given Pat the phone, assuming he would be sensible enough to take a photo of the special occasion I yelled with excitement turned to look at Pat with a big fat grin on my face and saw the face of terror and shock come over him, but couldn’t for the life of me work out why he wouldn’t be ecstatic at this wonderful news. Fortunately I managed to move with enough speed to catch a photo of the special moment whilst Pat failed absolutely miserably to even blink let alone move. He used the excuse of being just shocked and happy…which apparently I was naïve enough to believe! After celebrating the evening with the newly engaged couple we returned to the boat where Pat tells me he spent the entire night not sleeping because he had plans to propose to me the next day but was too worried that Callum might be annoyed he’d stolen his thunder.
The next day we started the trip back to Naples which involved circling the island of Capri. Firstly we stopped off to enter the blue grotto (Grotta Azzurra) which Pat had googled before the trip and thought it looked very romantic and might be the right place to propose, only wearing swimming trunks and a t-shirt he slipped the ring into his very loose pocket. The Grotto turned out to be a very chaotic place to visit where hundreds of boats gathered around the entrance yelling at the staff who come and collect you in tiny little row boats and all push in front of one another, we proceeded to squish ourselves into a tiny little boat, my head had to be nestled in Laura’s crotch and I got hit in the face with an oar so unsurprisingly Pat decided it probably wasn’t the right place to propose!
Our next stop was just by a rock structure that you can see in the light blue Dolce and Gabbana advert Pat now tells me! Once we stopped for lunch Pat asked for a photo at the front of the boat whilst I was wearing a nice pretty dress but I told him to get lost because I wanted to go for a swim in the sea! Once we had finished swimming Pat asked again for a picture at the front of the boat which I resentfully agreed to, handing Callum his phone he asked him to take the photo. He then proceeded to get down on one knee and hold out a black box which had a striking resemblance to the ring box used by Callum the night before. Pat is the biggest joker of all time and absolutely loves playing tricks on people so knowing this I assumed he was playing another trick on me with Callum’s ring box so I proceeded to call him a rude name and told him to stand up, that was until he opened the box the diamond sparkled in the sunlight and my brain started to work, realising that Laura was wearing her ring and that this must be another ring and Pat asked me to marry him. According to Callum and Laura I stood so still in such shock that they weren’t actually sure what was going to happen and Pat had to double check that I was about to say yes!
We like to think that we are quite friendly people and with our jobs (a nurse and a police officer) and our hobbies (hockey), we had so many people that we wanted to be part of our special day. As our families are so closely linked with marriage we wanted to make sure that everyone had a huge part of our special day and we could be really proud of what we achieved at the end of it. We knew that we wanted it to be really laid back but to have a huge party and we wanted it to last as long as possible.
The Planning Process
We started by deciding where we wanted the wedding, we live in Bristol and lots of our friends are from Bristol but we are from Taunton/Wellington in Somerset and love the area that we grew up in and where our story began so decided that we would have it at home. This meant that we needed to find somewhere that people could stay easily if we were asking them to come from Bristol and Pat’s family all the way from Scotland. I had always believed I would get married at the Church I went to as a child in Staplegrove, Taunton but unfortunately they were going to be having a refurbishment at the time we wanted to get married so we had to think about where else we could get married. Due to Pat’s parents living in the Wellington parish and right out in the country we had the choice of a number of amazing country churches, this led us out to Kittisford Barton where Pat’s mum and dad live and we decided that it would make sense to have the reception in this area to prevent people from having to travel too far. Fortunately Helen and Andrew (Pat’s Mum and Dad) have the most wonderful neighbours who allowed us to use their farm.
We really wanted to try and keep the cost as low as possible but everyone will know that no matter how cheap you want to go everything remains so expensive no matter how much help you have from others. I actually don’t have a specific number but I think it cost around about £18,000 in the end.
Our wedding was held at Ashbrittle Church which has the oldest Yew Tree in the country in its grounds, estimated to be around 3000 years old. We also found it entertaining that a Scottish flag hung over the groom’s side of the church which we thought Pat’s family might appreciate!
Our reception was held at The Ker’s farm in Kittisford Barton which is also a Lantern and Larks Glamping site and on the same site as the Cottage Beyond (a rented out cottage for families to stay in on holiday that has won numerous awards), and a 100m walk from Pat’s house. We hired a tipi to sit in one of the fields near the glamping site as our reception venue.
The Dress & Accessories
The Dress was a trumpet style sleeveless lace dress designed by Sassi Holford. I always said I would never wear a sleeveless dress because I didn’t want to be one of those brides who spent their entire day yanking their wedding dress up over their boobs! The amazing sales assistant Christine at Sassi Holford assured me that their dresses are more expensive because of how well they fit you on the day. Despite her reassurance I still didn’t want a sleeveless dress so after consultation with my incredibly talented fashionista sister we picked out a bolero style lace top that was off the shoulder and a satin belt. I also tried to refuse a veil because I didn’t want to look too ‘special’(!) but once I put it on I realised that that’s what really made it a wedding dress, so I had a long waterfall style veil to allow you to see the dress through the veil at the back with all the button detail.
Finding the Dress
With the talents of my sister I had originally planned for her to make my wedding dress but decided to go and try on a few styles to see what I would like, my first experience wasn’t particularly enjoyable and the sales assistant wasn’t really listening to what I said I would like as a dress and became frustrated when I said I didn’t really like any of the dresses.
I was only down in Taunton for a day or so but fortunately this coincided with a sale at Sassi Holford, we attended and Christine helped me pick out a few different dress styles, she picked up the trumpet style which I wasn’t very keen on the look of but she asked me to trust her and try it on. I remember putting it on and thinking that body with that dress on looks like someone else I look like someone from a magazine but I kept saying it was too fancy. Then my mum said what do you think Pat would think so I started to picture myself walking down the aisle in the dress and immediately knew that he would love it…more because my bottom looked like Kim Kardashian! I thought about it overnight then sent my mum in to buy it the next day whilst I was at work. Christine was right about the fit of the dress, I didn’t once yank it upwards because it never fell down. Although because the dress was in the sale it meant we couldn’t use the usual Sassi seamstresses therefore we found Donna who works part time at Sassi as well as being an incredible seamstress who not only made the dress fit perfectly and remain in the exact condition it was when I bought it.
If I could all of my friends would have had a spot as a bridesmaid but I ended up with five (it was supposed to be six but one of my best friends found out she was pregnant not long after we got engaged and she would be very pregnant at the wedding and decided she would rather not be trying to walk down the aisle!). My three best friends from school, my big sister and my neighbour (whose husband was our best man) who we are so close with she is like a member of my family!
I originally thought I would choose to have the girls wearing a dusky light blue colour as I had seen pictures of others which I liked but my sister put me onto the colour red, more of an oxblood colour which apparently was very fashionable! However this turned out to be one of the most stressful decisions I made, I like to think that nothing much stressed me out during the planning phase apart from this!
Firstly trying to find dresses that I liked the colour of was almost impossible in all of the high street stores particularly as we were now coming into spring and the colour I wanted was deemed to be an autumn colour. I didn’t want anything too fancy or sparkly as we wanted it to be more of a laid back look and I desperately wanted the girls to look amazing. After trying on more than 30 dresses each my Mum stumbled across Rewritten, a website specifically for bridesmaids dresses who had the exact colour dress I wanted, they were a brilliant company to work with who were so understanding and let us try lots of different styles before all the girls ended up choosing the same dress.
My bridesmaids were absolutely incredible. They planned an amazing hen do that was so me canoeing up a river in the pouring rain and learning how to make a fire to roast marshmallows on, and on the wedding day stayed with me dancing the night away until we were the last people on the dance floor at 2am! To thank them I gave them each a little Jo Malone candle. They all did their own make up and a friend of my mum’s came and did their hair, they wore their own shoes.
The Readings & Music
We had two readings in the ceremony, one by Laura (Pat’s Brother Callum’s girlfriend) because we wanted her to feel involved as my sister was Pat’s other brother’s wife! She read the Art of Marriage by W. Peterson. Our second reading was from my Godmother Chris which was 1 Corinthians 13:4 -13 Love is Patient Love is Kind.
We had three hymns during our ceremony:
Lord of all Hopefulness
We Pledge to One Another (music to I vow to thee my country)
Praise my Soul the King of Heaven
Our first dance:
You Make My Dreams come True – Hall and Oates
Pat really wanted to wear something tweed/wool related that might look slightly more country related but everything he tried on was ridiculously thick and too hot for a July wedding! He then stumbled across Skopes Suits which were sold from House of Fraser and their own site.
He chose the Brolin suit in Navy blue which was a wool blend, he wanted a three piece suit and chose bow ties to match the county look. Due to the Brolin suits being last season, Pat had some difficulty finding all the sizes for the suits which involved the difference between our 6ft 3 Best man to my 5ft 4 Father of the Bride. Skopes were absolutely brilliant at helping Pat find all of the different items and even helped tailor one of the waistcoats to try and fit my Dad! He wanted the bowtie to match the wool look and chose handmade bowties from Jade at Tweed Fiend in a similar colour to the bridesmaids dresses. The groomsmen all wore the same suits and bowties with any brown smart shoes that they had at home and white shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt.
My cousin had originally offered to make our wedding cake as she has incredible talents unfortunately her circumstances changed and my mum offered to take up the job. Unfortunately all the ladies in my family are gluten free which meant she had to make two cakes to satisfy all of us. We really liked the look of the naked cakes and she took up the challenge making numerous practice cakes in the lead up which meant by the day Pat was so sick of cake he couldn’t bring himself to eat anymore! The cakes were incredible and my cousin decorated them with the homegrown flowers.
For my bouquet my friend’s mum from years ago who owns the company Sweet Cicely provided me with a beautiful natural display. She was also kind enough to teach me and my mum how to make our own bouquets to allow us to save money on the bridesmaids. My incredibly talented Mum and two Aunties and friends grew all of the rest of our flowers in their gardens which took months of hard work and babysitting, none of them could go on holiday until the wedding was over because they were too worried about what might happen to the plants! The flowers for the church Pat’s mum bought from the local market and created an incredible display all around the church with a few of her local friends.
The Details & Décor
We tried to hand make as much as possible, including our invitations and order of service. The church was just beautifully decorated with flowers. The tipi company supplied all of the chairs and tables and fairy lights and dance floor inside the tipi. Numerous friends and family members also helped make bunting to hang inside and outside of the tipi, we found some hessian which was pre-cut into table runners and small pieces of hessian which we wrapped around the jam jars. We had lots of jam jars on each of the tables filled with homegrown flowers, our centrepieces were made of slices of wood which had photos of me and Pat, we dotted more photos of us as a couple around the tipi as well. We also had bigger slices of wood from my parents garden to put the two cakes on. Our favours were little pots of honey from the bees that are reared by Andrew (Pat’s dad) and Helen decorated all of the jars. She also made some elderflower cordial from elderflowers she picked around her house. Our name places were leaves from a bush in my aunties garden which we hand wrote people’s names onto them and attached them to everyone’s wine glasses. We had an old suitcase which we decorated with mini bunting for people to put their cards into .
We wanted our wedding to last as long as possible therefore we used the facilities we had around us and invited people to stay in the glamping tents on the Lantern and Larks camping field. Pat’s family stayed in the Cottage Beyond and other people were more than welcome to camp in the field next to the Tipi. Because the venue was so far out in the country we had lots of people take us up on the offer of camping and were able to get a truly festival vibe about the whole weekend. People drove down on the Friday evening and our caterers provided a food van to offer burgers/curry and other food for the evening. After setting up everyone spent the evening getting to know one another over the fire pits at the glamping site, my friends said how nice it was to get to know people before the wedding day which meant that rather than no one knowing each other in the church or until they sit down to eat lots of people had already met!
We made a dressing room in the honesty shop for the campers to use to get ready filling it with mirrors and plug sockets as there was no electricity in the tents. Our caterers provided us with an amazing hog roast for the wedding breakfast and also returned on the Sunday morning with the food van to cook fry ups for all the hungover guests which really helped! Me and pat didn’t want everyone to be the only ones having to rough it on the night of the wedding and we didn’t have time to go too far away so we set up camp far away from the others in a bell tent beautifully decorated by Pat’s parents.
I spent weeks looking for photographers. Unfortunately because we had apparently quite a quick turnaround between engagement and wedding (nine months….and no I’m not pregnant!), a lot of photographers were already booked up. I was starting to lose faith when I randomly came across a site listing different photographers many of whom I had seen before but one I hadn’t. The minute I reached Joab’s website I knew I wanted him to be our photographer, his pictures are amazing, a mix of laid back beauty and completely amazing and epic photos. Not only were his photos amazing through more communication i realised what a lovely guy he was as well!
On our first meeting it involved so much laughing our cheeks hurt and we knew we had met the guy! We are such goofballs we wouldn’t be able to deal with someone who took the photography too seriously but Joab was incredibly laid back with us on the day which made us feel relaxed but also allowed us to mess around and still managed to take some amazing shots. Everyone I spoke to after the wedding said how he moved around the wedding with such ease you never saw him but if you were about to take a photo he would just appear out of no where to take the shot, and once they saw the photos they raved about how good they were!
We haven’t been on our official honeymoon yet as we are waiting to go to Australia in January for Callum and Lauras wedding, we’re then planning on travelling for three months around south east Asia. We did spend the week after the wedding in Cornwall learning to surf which was great fun.
The most memorable moment for me was when everyone was dancing on the dance floor, the amazing band had handed out percussion instruments for everyone to play along with and they started playing Sex on Fire. I had a tambourine when suddenly Pat was lifted off the ground by the Hockey boys and started crowd surfing around the tent, the girls decided it wasn’t fair to just let him have all the fun so picked me up as well and we spent the whole song crowd surfing around the tent clashing the tambourine and it was one of those moments where you know you will never forget it, holding hands with my husband crowd surfing through my favourite people in the whole world with music blaring and everyone cheering, it gives me goosebumps thinking about it!!
Advice For Other Couples
I would advise never to let anything get to you or stress you out, all of the little details that you think are so important whilst your planning it becoming completely meaningless and you don’t care about anything when you’re having the best day! Try to be really present in the day, we handed over all control of timings and everything that was happening to our Best Man so we had nothing to worry about and we could really just enjoy the day.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Joab Smith Photography
Tipi & Kata
Oaktop Hog Roast
Drinks By Dexter
Griffin Toilet Hire
Well it looks like you had rather a fun day! Thank you ever so much Rachel and Pat for sharing the frolics with us! Rachel x